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No More ‘Silly’ Mayors

I would like to address some misconceptions that were brought up in your recent article on Konstantine Anthony’s conduct as mayor.

It is misleading to say the mayor’s role is technically symbolic. While the role of mayor is mostly ceremonial, in cases of disaster or emergency, the charter authorizes the mayor to assume general control over all city services, including police, fire and other emergency responders (see City Charter section 310 and Burbank Municipal Code section 5-2-106).

In such a scenario, could we expect Anthony to act in the best interest of the community, rather than using the occasion for self-promotion? Based on what we’ve seen so far, perhaps not.

For those of us who have watched Anthony for a while, a clear pattern emerges and there is no occasion in which Anthony will not see an opportunity to insert himself, whether that be imposing himself upon people lined up at a polling place, or as we see here, using his position as mayor to draw attention to his campaign for county supervisor. We also see that when he’s held to account, Anthony invariably deflects criticism by playing the victim.

Councilman Nick Schultz may have created more misperception when he said there was no recourse (other than recall) against a mayor who abuses the office. In fact, the City Charter provides that the mayor serves in that position “subject to the pleasure of the Council.” This means the person serving as mayor may be removed from the mayoral position at any time (and for any reason) by a simple majority vote of the Council (City Charter section 400 ).

Finally, Anthony claims (without evidence) that the voters “overwhelmingly support their silly, down-to-earth mayor.” This is another example of Anthony’s penchant for “magical thinking.” In reality, because Burbank no longer has a primary nominating election, Anthony was elected with a mere 20% of the vote. This means 80% of voters wanted someone besides Anthony — hardly a mandate for his “leadership.”

Because of the powers given to the mayor in case of disaster or emergency, this is more than a matter of decorum; it’s also a matter of public safety. Under these circumstances, we simply can’t afford the risk of a “silly” mayor who refuses to take things seriously. The Council needs to mitigate this risk when it takes the matter up on Sept. 26.

Greg Sousa

First published in the September 23 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

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